Apple’s Memoji may have become the more popular 3D avatar feature for smartphones, but Xiaomi wants people to know that its similarly named version — Mimoji — came first, despite increasingly confusing overlap between the apps’ names and features.
Moreover, it’s apparently threatening legal action against writers who call it a copycat without providing proof.
In September 2017, Apple introduced Animoji as an iPhone X-exclusive component of Messages, enabling the high-end smartphone’s users to see their facial expressions rendered in augmented reality as one of 12 animated emoji glyphs, including pig, fox, rabbit, panda, and poop icons.
On June 4, 2018, it added user-customizable Memoji faces to Animoji — notably without changing the Messages component’s name — which hit all iPhone X, XR, and XS models with a final public release in September 2018.
By contrast, Xiaomi notes that its own feature was originally called “Mi Meng” when it hit China in late May 2018, but had the English name Mimoji, as evidenced by the package name of its Android application.
While the company’s Mimoji generally looked like second-rate Animoji — including a pig, fox, panda, and rabbit-ish mascot — there weren’t any human figures.